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Blood. 2000 Oct 1;96(7):2592-8.

Lipopolysaccharide induces jun N-terminal kinase activation in macrophages by a novel Cdc42/Rac-independent pathway involving sequential activation of protein kinase C zeta and phosphatidylcholine-dependent phospholipase C.

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Section of Cell Biology and Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology and Genetics, Vienna Biocenter, Vienna, Austria.


The activation of kinases of the mitogen-activated protein kinase superfamily initiated by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plays an important role in transducing inflammatory signals. The pathway leading to the induction of stress-activated protein kinases in macrophages stimulated with LPS was investigated. The activation of Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK) by LPS is herbimycin sensitive. Using specific inhibitors, it was shown that the pathway involves the activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI 3-K). However, in contrast to previous reports, the small GTPases Cdc42 and Rac are not required downstream of PI 3-K for JNK activation. Instead, the phosphoinositides produced by PI 3-K stimulate protein kinase C (PKC) zeta activation through PDK1. In turn, activation of this atypical PKC leads to the stimulation of phosphatidylcholine phospholipase C (PC-PLC) and acidic sphingomyelinase (ASMase). It is therefore proposed that PKCzeta regulates the PC-PLC/ASMase pathway, and it is hypothesized that the resultant ceramide accumulation mediates the activation of the SEK/JNK module by LPS.

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